‘Disused’ Delves to become a car park?

Recent Wallace Day event at 'disused' Delves Park
Recent Wallace Day event at 'disused' Delves Park

Lanark’s Delves Park has been described as “disused” in a blueprint for the future of the town centre, recommending it largely become a car park.

The confidential document from Lanark Community Development Trust, leaked to the Gazette, has been produced to form the Royal Burgh’s bid for Scottish Government special funding for town centre improvement projects over £50,000 which can be quickly devised and carried out.

The Trust’s suggestion for the fate of Delves (or Dandies) Park, donated to the old Lanark Town Council 91 years ago, echoes an unsuccessful South Lanarkshire Council scheme which failed to attract government funding about a decade ago. Most of the locally-assigned cash went instead to creating a childrens nursery in Carluke.

The Trust document gives no explanation for calling Delves Park “disused” but a current South Lanarkshire Council website describes it as “popular for dog walking, great place for a picnic, quiet retreat from the town centre and good for a relaxed walk.”

The Trust has made the Delves suggestion in order to replace and increase threefold spaces lost in the Castlegate car park which it wants converted into “a new town square which would become a vibrant and pleasant community space and focal point for town promotion, seasonal events, personal meetings and leisure opportunities.

However, the Trust’s ‘shopping list’ of projects sees other already widely known projects take priority over the Castlegate/Delves scheme.

The absolute top priority is the demolition of the former Royal Oak Hotel and its replacement with housing association flats with a similar fate planned for the former Regal Cinema, later Vogue Bingo Club, nearby.

The next priorties are to demolish the empty “More Choices” shop in the middle of the High Street to create a new ‘Wide Close’ to the North Vennel and the demolition of a derelict building to the rear of Hunters Close.

The bids for the town centre cash have to be with the Scottish Government by midnight tonight (Wednesday) and so the Trust faced a very tight deadline on any local consultation on its proposals.

Indeed, it asked the Royal Burgh of Lanark Community Council to give its views by last Friday - three days before the community council was due to meet on Monday night. It is understood that the Trust pushed the deadline back to allow the community council members a chance to discuss the proposals. A report of this will be in next week’s Gazette.